Former GSK consumer arm Haleon posted strong double-digit growth in its first financial results as a listed company, although investors were more interested in its tough stance against its former parent over Zantac litigation.

The recently spun-off consumer health group saw organic revenue growth of 11.6% in the first six months of the year, while growth of its key power brands was ahead of this at 13.4%. That was largely driven by volume/mix growth of 7.9%, with price increases accounting for 3.7%.

The group reported strong market share, achieved by increasing household penetration, winning new consumers and expanding into new channels and geographies.

A stronger cold and flu season saw pain relief grow 11.7%, driven by Panadol, and respiratory health sales rise 46.7%. Oral health was up 5.1% – mainly driven by improved penetration of Sensodyne – while vitamins, minerals and supplements saw organic revenue growth of 11.9%.

Reported operating profit increased 22.1% to £900m in the first half, with margin 17.3% up 120bps. In the first half, Haleon managed to offset 40% of cost inflation through forward buying and other initiatives. It also reported having hedged or locked through contracts for 90% of materials in the second half.

However, it guided for a slowdown in the second half. Its 2022 revenue and adjusted operating margin guidance remained unchanged, with organic revenue growth expected to slow to 6%-8%, while adjusted operating margin in is expected to be slightly down at constant currency on last year.

Perhaps most notably, the group doubled down on its stance that it is not a party to the Zantac litigation claims that have, according to broker Jefferies, “dominated the conversation since the spin”. Haleon has told its former parent GSK and Pfizer that “it rejects their requests for indemnification”.

Jefferies welcomed the slightly ahead of forecast profit figures, but said the “likely share price-moving” event was its Zantac disclosure.

Hargreaves Lansdown added: “Litigation surrounding Zantac is a distraction, but Haleon itself never marketed this product and we do not see significant financial costs”. It added: “With strong cash flows, Haleon should rapidly deleverage, which will help to drive financial returns higher, over and above the growth from the brands portfolio. Haleon should have excellent dividend growth potential over the longer term as a result.”

Haleon shares have fallen from float price of 330p to a low of 241.2p in early September, but recovered 2.3% on the results on Tuesday to trade back up to 265.6p by Thursday.